The Locarno Film Festival will open this year’s 74th edition on Aug. 4 with the world premiere of Italian director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s latest thriller “Beckett,” starring John David Washington, Boyd Holbrook, Vicky Krieps and Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander.
After the film’s Locarno premiere, Netflix will launch the film worldwide on Aug. 13.
“Beckett’s” presence marks a return to the Swiss festival for Cito Filomarino, whose 2010 feature “Diarchia” played in the Pardi di domani section.
It also stands out as the festival’s long-awaited return to the iconic Piazza Grande, Locarno’s central square which is home to screenings of its biggest and most audience-friendly movies.
The Piazza Grande is also the festival’s largest competition space, as each day after each screening — exceptions being short films and features in the Histoire(s) du cinéma and Retrospettiva sections — audiences vote for their favorite film using the dedicated festival app. At the end of the festival, the most popular film wins the UBS Audience Award, one of the most prestigious awards up for grabs.
“Beckett” is produced by Cito Filomarino’s colleague Luca Guadagnino — the two worked together on the Oscar-nominated “Call Me by Your Name” — and follows American tourist Beckett (David Washington) on a trip to Greece, where he is forced to run for his life after a tragic car accident drops him in the middle of a political conspiracy. His only hope of survival is crossing the country and reaching the American embassy before his pursuers are able to catch up with him.
“There’s a piece of Locarno in the success story of Ferdinando Cito Filomarino. From the Pardi di domani to the Piazza Grande, the Locarno Film Festival is an incubator for talent, a training ground and finally as a launch pad for the most exciting filmmakers of the future,” said artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro in a release accompanying the announcement.
“’Beckett’ is a thriller that gives an original and contemporary reboot to the lessons learned from directors such as Sydney Pollack and Alan J. Pakula,” he went on. “An action film with a humanist dimension and intense civil engagement, here underpinned by a magisterial performance from John David Washington. Political commitment and great entertainment are the two main ingredients for a Piazza Grande that aims to surprise audiences and reassert the centrality of cinema in all its forms.”
This year’s 74th Locarno Film Festival will run Aug. 4-14 and is committed to full compliance with official health and sanitation best practices.